Mean(s) Testing

Everyone deserves a liveable income whether in paid employment or not; our society relies on a great deal of unpaid labour to function. A liveable income for everyone is only fair. And being fair is something that most New Zealanders pride themselves on.

The flip side of this is the amount of time spent worrying about unfairness. It is good to worry about unfairness if it is confined to worrying about people missing out on basic entitlements and taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately these days it seems to have gone the other way. The focus is on people getting things others don’t think they are entitled to. Mainly directed at those who get very little by those who have already got a lot. Continue reading

New Zealand – Nasty or Nice?

The government is crowing about the latest draconian measures introduced in its crackdown on benefit fraud. But all this shows is that New Zealand is in danger of becoming a petty, mean, dog eat dog nation. We ration everything. We don’t give anything away except to people who are absolutely desperate and then we watch their every move to make sure they don’t to anything that could remotely be described as ‘fun’ so much do we resent them supposedly getting something for nothing.

It’s all a far cry from being the first country in the world to introduce a social welfare system, give women the vote, and become nuclear free. Continue reading

GST must go

Alliance Party tax spokesperson Professor Jim Flynn says the taxation policies of Labour and National disadvantage those on low to middle incomes.

Professor Flynn says the Alliance advocates major changes to the tax system including the immediate removal of GST on food and the phase out of all GST over three years, and its replacement with a Financial Transactions Tax, which would boost most New Zealanders incomes.

He says the tax plans of the National Party would do very little for low to middle income earners, except to cut funding for vital public services such as health and education.

“Bill English says that National’s priority would be to give tax relief to those in the top tax bracket, those who earn over $60,000 per year. But the average income is under $40,000.” Continue reading